US Italy. An NGO accused of being paid after rescuing migrants

17:45  02 march  2021
17:45  02 march  2021 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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Des migrants sur le Se Watch 4 le 27 août 2020 regardent le pétrolier Maersk Étienne au large de Malte. © THOMAS LOHNES / AFP Archives Migrants on the Se Watch 4 on August 27, 2020 watch the oil tanker Maersk Étienne off the coast of Malta.

Mediterranea Saving Humans is accused of receiving money from shipping giant AP Moeller-Maersk for taking care of migrants stranded aboard one of its freighters.

Italian justice is investigating on Mediterranea Saving Humans, an NGO accused of having received money from the Danish shipping giant AP Moeller-Maersk after having taken in migrants stranded aboard one of its freighters, this that this organization denies, media reported Tuesday, March 2.

Maersk reportedly paid € 125,000 to Idra, a company that oversees Mediterranea, just after the NGO recovered 27 migrants in September who had spent more than a month on one of the Danish carrier's freighters.

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Migrant relief NGOs operating between Libya, Malta and Italy are often criticized on the peninsula, with some even accusing them of collusion with migrant smugglers.

So far, however, the evidence gathered in various cases has not led to a trial. But several relief ships chartered by NGOs have been blocked by the Italian coast guard for security reasons.

The NGO denies

On Monday, Mediterranea indicated that it had been targeted by “vast police operation ordered by a prosecutor from the Ragusa (Sicily, south)”, denouncing “the personal crusade” of this prosecutor against the song.

The NGO claimed to be accused of having organized its relief operations "as projects to collect profits", while stressing that these accusations are "based on speculations that will melt like snow in the sun".

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In a press release, AP Moeller-Maersk indicated that “not have been contacted by the authorities within the framework of this investigation”, while saying “ready to provide assistance at any time” .

The skipper of Mediterranea, his chef de mission and the shipowner are suspected of a criminal association aimed at promoting illegal immigration and violation of the maritime code, according to La Repubblica.

In September, the intervention of Mediterranea had made it possible to resolve the problem posed by the presence of migrants rescued by the cargo ship Maersk Étienne and stranded on board due to the refusal of Malta and Italy to welcome them.

The migrants were eventually transferred to the Mare Jonio de Mediterranea ship, and a month later Maersk made a payment to Mediterranea, according to La Repubblica.

According to the head of mission of the NGO Luca Casarini, quoted by the newspaper, this money had "nothing to do" with the activities of aid to migrants. "We can prove it" , he added, saying that this money corresponded to a payment for a consultancy mission on the management of the ports.

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This is interesting!